Chucked Up Theatre’s Have I Told You I’m Writing A Play About My Vagina? takes a heartwarming, humorous and honest look at the perils of Vaginismus and one woman’s journey to embracing her body.
With a title like Have I Told You I’m Writing A Play About My Vagina?, Chucked Up Theatre’s production is perhaps the most quintessentially ‘me’ thing that I ever could have gone to see. It’s a warm and comedic exploration of the lesser-known female sexual dysfunction, Vaginismus – which educates and titillates, though struggles somewhat to do so in equal measure.
Though it’s an enjoyable and charming hour, the didactic discussions about Vaginismus partially overtake the comedy and make the audience feel as if we’re back in a biology classroom. Navigating the boundary of providing insight into a condition which is rarely discussed, let alone represented in the media, is undoubtedly a challenge to mediate for the creatives at the helm of this production. Despite this though, the self-loved centric messages of embracing your body’s uniqueness and finding peace within yourself are clear.
Writer Ella Langley shapes the story around a conversation between Bea (Christelle Elwin) and her Vag (Lottie Amor). The duo find very little to agree on; most pertinently, Bea’s desire to be sexually liberated and her Vag’s unwillingness to comply. The actors work well together in their contrast. Elwin introduces Bea with quiet confidence, which then gets gradually pulled apart as Vag refuses to play ball. Amor plays Vag with exuberant petulance, which energises the production well. However, despite Amor’s energetic performance, the production occasionally struggles to maintain pace, hitting an energy lull in the middle. Perhaps this is due to the aforementioned density in contextualisation and language surrounding the subject matter.
On the whole, the direction from Georgia Figgis is strong. However, there’s a few instances where staging decisions make the characters play to back, compromising the moments visually and audibly. Therefore, although the production doesn’t feel polished, it certainly has heart. This is the first time I’ve seen an unwavering commitment to shedding light on something society has frequently neglected to discuss, and for that, I applaud the team.
NB: the reviewer attended a preview performance that took place at the Bunker Theatre (London) on Sunday 28th July 2019.